Over the past 15 years, advances in technology have undoubtedly kept our vehicles much safer. According to data from Statista, in 2003 there were well over 300,000 vehicles stolen throughout the UK, but these rates have been steadily declining until just 70,053 vehicles were stolen in 2014. For a short while, it seemed as though the thieves had been beaten once and for all. Since every car manufactured after 1998 now includes an alarm and immobiliser system, many drivers naturally assume that their vehicles are now perfectly safe. However, the most recent Home Office figures tell a completely different story, showing a 50% increase in car theft rates over the past 5 years. These particular stats reveal that 111,999 cars were stolen in 2018, roughly equating to a stolen vehicle every 5 minutes. Although these figures are nowhere near the high rates of 2003, the dramatic rise in car theft is understandably causing a great deal of concern among motorists. So, how can you keep your car safer in 2019?
Hide Your Valuables
Since all modern vehicles now come with built-in alarm systems, thieves are unlikely to break into your car unless they feel it’s worth the risk; particularly if you’ve installed some kind of physical anti-theft device, such as a steering wheel lock. By not only keeping valuables in your vehicle, but actually leaving them out in clear view of prying eyes, you’ll actually be tempting potential thieves to take that risk. Instead of serving up such an inviting opportunity, you need to make sure you hide away any valuables when leaving your vehicle by itself. If taking the items with you isn’t a viable option, you should check over your car’s manual to see if it has any hidden built-in storage areas, while even utilising your glove compartment is much better than leaving valuables out on display. When thieves aren’t certain that breaking into your car is worth the risk or time, they’re far less likely to actually go through with it. After all, opportunists won’t strike when there’s no opportunity in the first place.
Secure Your Keys
This may sound like an incredibly obvious piece of advice, but a surprising number of drivers regularly fail to keep their keys safe. In fact, recent ONS figures show that 50% of all vehicle thefts involve an unlocked door, with thieves forcing their way through in just 14% of cases. The rise of keyless entry vehicles has been largely blamed for the sudden spike in car theft rates, with more organised criminals able to relay the signal and trick the car into opening its doors and, perhaps more alarmingly, starting its engine. Owners of these keyless cars need to be even more vigilant than regular drivers, since keeping keys in the hallway, kitchen cupboard or a dedicated pot will allow thieves to hack the signal. Motorists of all vehicles should always keep their keys away from windows and doors, but those driving keyless models should also invest in a signal blocking pouch. Alternatively, you could refer to the instructions to see if the signal can be turned off when you’re in the house.
Install a Dashcam
Although dashcams certainly won’t protect your vehicle from theft, they’ll undoubtedly keep you safer while you’re out on the road. Since these handy gadgets can record footage of your entire journey, you can obviously prove which driver was at fault in the event of a collision, ultimately protecting you from any scams or insurance disputes. When you’ve got dashcams recording both the front and rear of your vehicle, you can always provide evidence of exactly what happened and avoid any expensive legal costs. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, then dashcams can even lead to significantly lower insurance premiums, helping you to actually save money in the long-run.
Invest in a GPS Car Tracker
Becoming the victim of car theft can always become a truly nightmarish situation, especially since so many stolen vehicles are never found. Data from Auto Express shows that just over 45% have been recovered over the past 10 years, although this figure will obviously fluctuate throughout different parts of the country. Fortunately, a GPS car tracker can help turn the odds in your favour. By linking up with a remote device, modern trackers can accurately locate your vehicle in real-time, meaning it’s obviously much easier for the authorities to find it in the event of a theft. Additionally, the more advanced models can even include motion sensors and remote immobilisation capabilities, sending you alerts as soon as your vehicle has been unexpectedly moved. GPS trackers are either hard-wired or magnetic, while the latter will need to be charged after a certain amount of time (usually, batteries last at least a few months). Whichever type of tracker you decide to go for, it’s always important to keep it hidden in a secure location—since it won’t be much use if a thief locates it and dumps it by the side of the road. Shop the Back2You selection of GPS car trackers today, and take the first steps towards keeping your vehicle better protected this year.